Spratt’s Distinguished Professorship Renewed at WWU

Dr. Mary Spratt, professor of biology, will be the Cox Distinguished Dr. Mary SprattProfessor of Science at William Woods University for another two years.


WWU recently announced that Spratt’s professorship had been renewed. The Clark Cox Trust established the Clark and Mildred Cox Distinguished Professorship, and Spratt was the first recipient of the award in 2008.


To be eligible, faculty are required to hold a Ph.D. and have a full-time appointment in chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics or geology/physical geography. They must have a specific research activity that involves at least one student in a mentor-mentee type relationship.


The award will provide Spratt with funding of $6,000 per year to support and maintain equipment supplies and materials associated with her research, as well as help with travel, technical, clinical and laboratory consultation expenses that may be required. Spratt’s student assistants will also each be awarded a stipend of $500 a semester to help further research.


In the past two years  student assistants have written and published abstracts, extracted DNA from ticks and have read and annotated genetic sequences for the Genome Sequencing Center of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. They also wrote and submitted a grant proposal to Tri Beta, which awarded them $750 to help continue their research.


“While William Woods University promotes teaching as our top priority among faculty, the Clark and Mildred Cox Distinguished Professorship in Science was established by the Clark Cox Trust to help enhance classroom teaching by supporting faculty research in their specific field,” Dr. Sherry McCarthy, vice president and dean of academic affairs, said. 


“The foundation wanted this recipient to be conducting research in which students in the major could directly participate and in which classrooms of students could view the data that research professionals generate,” McCarthy said.


“Dr. Spratt’s research into the infectious diseases carried by ticks and the genomics research done with an entire upper-division class provides that kind of resource for our students.”


She added, “We want students to think as scientists and use the tools of science in research. Students can also see how Dr. Spratt’s research directly impacts the prevention and treatment of diseases.”


Spratt’s accomplishments for the years 2008-2009 include a number of presentations, abstracts and publications for organizations such as the journal Science (AAAS–American Association for the Advancement of Science), MicrobeLibrary (ASM–American Society for Microbiology) and Cell Biology Education-Life Science Education, (an online quarterly journal. )


Spratt earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and English from St. Olaf College, a master’s degree in biology at St. Mary’s College, and a master’s and doctorate degree in physiology and cell biology at the University of Kansas. She has taught at WWU for 18 years.